“Armies are not trained as community development officers.  Armies are trained to kill.”

Mairead_Corrigan_Gaza_cropIn 1976, Mairead Corrigan’s sister was out walking with her children; three of the children were killed in the aftermath of a violent incident between I.R.A. and British troops.  Their deaths, a result of being in the wrong place at the wrong time, were the final straw that led Maguire to co-found Peace People, for which she was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize.




17 years later, shortly after the Downing Street Declaration, she talks with Studs about Northern Ireland and her work for peace around the world.  She speaks of a divided and impoverished country, in which young people struggle to see a future; and she speaks of the violence that results from hatred based on ethnic, religious, and political divisions.  Studs sees parallels around the world, and in his own city.

Shankill Road, Belfast, circa 1970

Shankill Road, Belfast, circa 1970

“Our approach to the Peace People is that we want to create a non-violent society, we want to really be able to create a society where ethnic conflict is solved by people themselves coming together to really build proper politics.”  This was very timely in 1993: there were wars going on across Africa, and in many former Soviet states.

But it is as necessary now as it was in 1977 and 1993.



Photo credits

Mairead Corrigan Maguire: By Mairead_Corrigan_Gaza.jpg: Free Gaza movementderivative work: Materialscientist – This file was derived from  Mairead Corrigan Gaza.jpg:, CC BY-SA 2.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=20477915

Shankill Road: By Fribbler (Own work) [CC BY-SA 3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0) or GFDL (http://www.gnu.org/copyleft/fdl.html)], via Wikimedia Commons